Juventus
    Juventus
      19.10.2017 12:00 - in: Champions League S

      Five Talking Points: Juventus vs Sporting CP

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      Juventus.com rounds up the main points to emerge from Wednesday’s Champions League win over Sporting Clube de Portugal
      FORTRESS ALLIANZ STADIUM

      With yesterday’s win, the Bianconeri stretched their unbeaten run at home in the Champions League to 21 matches – their longest streak in the competition. Four and a half years have now passed since Juve fell to Bayern Munich in April 2013.

      The Bavarians were also the last opponent to lead a European game at the Stadium – in February 2016 – before Sporting CP. While Massimiliano Allegri’s men battled from behind to force a draw in that last 16 meeting against Bayern, they went one better yesterday to secure a comeback win at home in the Champions League for the first time since beating Olympiacos in November 2014.

      MARIO THE MATCH WINNER

      Four Champions League games. Four Champions League goals. Mario Mandzukic’s current form in the competition is up there with Europe’s finest.

      The Croatian has a habit of scoring when it matters most and yesterday was no different: with only six minutes of regulation time remaining and the scores still level, Super Mario rose highest to head home the crucial winner that had Allianz Stadium singing his name once more until the final whistle.

      For Juve’s number 17 did not only score the decisive goal, but in true Mario Mandzukic fashion, he also worked his socks off, contributing two crosses, two knockdowns and two interceptions.

      WELCOME BACK, MIRALEM PJANIC!

      After three weeks on the sidelines following that injury during the warm-up of Juve’s last Champions League match against Olympiacos, Miralem Pjanic returned to the scene in style on Wednesday night.

      For Pjanic, a free-kick is almost the same as taking a penalty, such is his prowess at scoring from outside the area. Indeed, only Cristiano Ronaldo and Willian have netted more free-kicks than him in the Champions League since February 2009.

      This was Pjanic’s 10th goal for Juventus and arguably his most important to date, as it dragged the Bianconeri back on level terms at a key point in a game they knew they needed to win.

      DOUGLAS COSTA’S INSTANT IMPACT

      Douglas Costa’s first touch last night? The assist for Mario Mandzukic’s winning goal! Indeed, less than a minute had passed between the Brazilian’s introduction to the field and his key contribution to a crucial victory.

      This has been a positive week for the summer signing from Bayern Munich, who also scored his first Juventus goal last Saturday against Lazio.

      LOOKING AHEAD TO LISBON

      In just 12 days, Juve and Sporting CP meet again, this time at the Estádio José Alvalade in Lisbon.

      The Bianconeri know that victory in Portugal on 31 October would put them in pole positon to qualify for the round of 16, while a draw would see them maintain a three-point advantage over the Leões with two more group matches left to play.

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